Dean Meeker print, 1976

the gone mind singing as it goes sings serene
deformities of wings, a parched bronze noon,
shoreline foam receding with the kelp
it spat :: it sings I had no sons, no hazed altitudes
to glide, it was a carver’s workshop dream, all of it,
boredom’s secret theatre, the queen’s drawn face,
blood flashed on the interminable cobbled wall
of a maze :: I have stared too long at sawdust
that furred my arms in moon-glow :: it all fell
from my fingers, a hollow ox made for the whim
of some brat dizzy with lust, imagining her delinquent
fervor too :: whoever drinks the sea burns brighter
with thirst :: I cannot track island gulls for long before
they blur to one gull subtracted :: the wind bore me
like a dune, crabs skittering sideways, whoever
insults the sky becomes its cloud :: there never was a boy
who found me, ambered, fleeing, who came weeping
down his tunic, an orphaned greediness :: I never carved
a cypress gull his tiny hands could soar, make it caw,
he made it, I made him up, he was a wretch made to make
echoes past my corridor, chased by his own tongue


Richard Tennant Cooper, c. 1912

our figure here whose face is rotting off
aghasts :: like us the balconed peasants glare
into the scene performing their disgust ::
egads :: gadzooks :: purpureus her skin
in rags she plods her staff and shakes a bell
to warn another village hissing through
its cavities :: the fruit stand’s quaint remains
fester sun-stained :: one bucket spills its guts
into the shadow of a trough :: and all
the jeerers sprawled across the steps recoiling
from the leper’s ding ignore the naked babe
left in the street to suck its thumb and stare ::
veridical our mob is absolute ::
each mother turns away her empty arms

ADAM TAVEL is the author of five books of poetry, including two new collections: Green Regalia (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2022) and Sum Ledger (Measure Press, 2022). His third book, Catafalque, won the Richard Wilbur Award (University of Evansville Press, 2018). His recent poems appear in North American Review, Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Ninth Letter,The Massachusetts Review, Copper Nickel, and Western Humanities Review, among others. You can find him online at